Detroit Tigers (2-1, tied 1st in AL Central)
Led by a surprisingly strong performance from Jason Johnson, the Tigers marched on to victory on Thursday afternoon, to win the first series of the season. OF Rondell White got the scoring started with a solo home run in the 6th, and then the team came alive with a 6-run 7th inning to pull away from the Royals. Johnson got the win, pitching 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. C Ivan Rodriguez also had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with an RBI. Cleveland now comes to town to start a 3-game set, with Nate Robertson facing Scott Elarton on Friday evening. Game time is 7:05pm, and this one will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit.
AAA Toledo Mud Hens (0-0) The Mud Hens got their first game of the year underway, unfortunately, rain forced the game to be suspended in the 10th inning of a 5-5 tie with Durham. Kenny Baugh started the opener, giving up 2 runs in 5 innings for the 'Hens. OF Marcus Thames had a huge day at the plate, going 5-for-5 with a home run and 2 RBI. OF Alexis Gomez also had a good day, going 3-for-3 with a stolen base. The Mud Hens will finish up their first game on Friday before continuing to game 2 of the season.
AA Erie SeaWolves (1-0, tied 1st in Southern division)
Rob Henkel got the Opening Day start and impressed, earning the win en route to Erie's 11-6 victory over Trenton, while pitching 5 innings, with 1 run allowed, striking out 6 and walking 2. The star at the plate was IF Don Kelly, who announced his return to baseball in a big way, going 3-for-5 with 3 runs, 2 home runs and 4 RBI. OF David Espinosa also had a strong game, going 2-for-4 with 3 RBI. The SeaWolves will try and continue their winning ways on Friday night in game 2 of their series with Trenton.
High-A Lakeland Tigers (0-1, tied last in West division)
The Lakeland Tigers opened their 2005 season on the road with a 5-8 loss to the Tampa Yankees. Starting pitcher Justin Verlander (0-1) pitched well, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and recording 4 strikeouts. Lakeland reliever Kevin McDowell came in during the 4th, but he was unable to stop Tampa, who scored 6 runs on 4 hits against McDowell during a six-run inning. The Yankees held off a rally by the Tigers, who tried to get back in the game by scoring 5 runs in the 7th inning. Lakeland right fielder Brent Clevelen and first baseman Kelly Hunt both went 2 for 4, each with an RBI and a run scored. The Tigers are playing the Yankees again tonight in Tampa at 7:00 pm.
- Aaron Westgate, Lakeland Correspondent
Low-A West Michigan Whitecaps (0-1, tied last in Eastern division)
The Whitecaps got a rough start to the year,falling to Southwest Michigan 10-6. The young Dallas Trahern got the Opening Day start for the Whitecaps and got a no decision, giving up 2 runs in 4 innings. Ian Ostlund would take the loss in relief for the two runs he gave up in the 5th. 1B Josh Lee had a big 3-run home run in the 9th inning, but it was too little, too late for the 'Caps. SS Brent Dlugach went 2-for-4 with 2 runs also in the losing effort. West Michigan will look to do better against Southwest Michigan on Friday night.